Practicing gratitude and flourishing

5 min read

Gratitude is the acknowledgment of a benefit, whether it be material or spiritual. It enables a focus on the positive aspects of life and social relationships, encouraging us to concentrate on what we possess. It serves as a potent antidote to feelings of lack, envy, and jealousy.

Often underestimated in our societies, its practice contrasts with the hectic lifestyle promoted. The modern world continually urges us to aspire for more, prompting us to look at what we lack rather than celebrating what we already possess. Frequently, we find ourselves absorbed in past and future concerns, reevaluating past failures or pursuing our goals frantically.

Yet, practicing gratitude can significantly enhance our physical and mental well-being.

Practicing gratitude has benefits

1. Emotional well-being improvement : studies have shown that gratitude increases life satisfaction, reduces symptoms of stress, depression, and anxiety (Ducasse and al., 2019), and strengthens social relationships. Gratitude acts as a catalyst, promoting positive emotions and reinforcing resilience in the face of life's challenges.

2. Impact on overall health : expressing gratitude is associated with a propensity to help others, optimism, engagement in sports, and improved physical condition. Tangible benefits include a decrease in blood pressure, reinforcement of the immune system (Ghandeharioun and al., 2016), and enhanced sleep quality (Jackowska and al., 2015). Research has revealed that individuals practicing gratitude regularly experience a reduction in cortisol, the stress hormone (Matvienko-Sikar and al., 2016). Practicing gratitude could improve the condition of patients suffering from heart failure (Redwine and al., 2016).

3. Virtuous circle : the continuous expression of gratitude creates a virtuous circle, where the more we express our appreciation, the more we are valued, providing us with more reasons to be grateful.

Some simple practices

Practicing gratitude involves focusing on the positive in the present moment and expressing gratitude towards life, oneself, the Universe, a higher power, or others, depending on our beliefs. This reduces the tendency to compare and fosters positive feelings.

Gratitude goes beyond a simple "thank you." It is a profound attitude of appreciation for life and everything around us. It involves taking the time to recognize and appreciate the small positive things in our daily lives, even in challenging moments.

Integrating gratitude into daily life does not require major changes. Here are some simple routines you can easily incorporate :

  1. Gratitude journal : allocate a few minutes each day to write down three things you are grateful for. It can be as simple as sunshine, a warm smile, or a cup of coffee.

  2. Recognition break : take regular breaks in your day to focus on the present moment. Mentally or verbally express thanks for the people, experiences, or opportunities around you.

  3. Express your gratitude : develop the habit of expressing gratitude towards others. A simple "thank you" can have a significant impact on your relationships and strengthen social bonds.

  4. Visual reminder: place visual reminders of gratitude in your environment. Whether it's a photo evoking happy memories or an inspirational quote, these reminders can bring you back to a mindset of appreciation.

Practicing gratitude goes beyond mere politeness; it proves to be a powerful tool that strengthens social bonds, alleviates anxiety and depression, all while promoting overall better health. By integrating it into our daily lives, we actively build our well-being. It is a source of joy and satisfaction to nurture, which will protect and enhance our quality of life.